China Southern

American Is In “Advanced Talks” To Buy Stake In China Southern

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In 2015, Delta invested $450 million to acquire a 3.55% stake in Shanghai-based China Eastern. While investing in a subsidized airline is something that you’d think Delta would be opposed to, the intent was clearly that China Eastern would give them better access to Shanghai, which is a major market already, and will grow over time.

Well, it looks like Delta isn’t the only U.S. carrier that wants a piece of a Chinese carrier. Bloomberg is reporting that American is in advanced talks to buy a roughly $200 million stake in Guangzhou-based China Southern. Per the story:

“The negotiations focus on an investment of about $200 million by Fort Worth, Texas-based American in China Southern’s Hong Kong-listed shares, said the people, asking not to be identified as talks are confidential. The sale likely would take place through a private placement, one of the people said. China Southern has a market value of about $10 billion.”

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China Southern Is Adding Flights Between Vancouver And Mexico City (Sort Of)

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Next week Japan-based ANA will begin daily nonstop flights between Tokyo Narita and Mexico City Airport, which will make them the only Asian airline to operate flights to Mexico (though Aeromexico operates a few flights to Asia).

Mexico can be a tough market for Asian carriers to crack. Not only is it Mexico really far from most of Asia, but Mexico City Airport is also at an altitude of ~7,300 feet, meaning that takeoff performance is reduced, so planes don’t have the range and power they’d have at an airport closer to sea level.

For example, in May Aeromexico will begin flying between Mexico City and Seoul Incheon, though on the outbound the flight will operate via Monterrey.

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Planning A Round-The-World Trip On SkyTeam’s Forgotten Airlines?

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As you guys know, this year I’ve made a point of reviewing as many new airlines as possible. So far I’m pretty pleased with how I’ve done. Even though the year is slowly coming to a close, in 2017 my goal is to review even more new airlines than this year. I’m in the process of planning something that seems like a fun way to kick this off.

This year I’ve enjoyed reviewing several new SkyTeam products for the first time, including the following:

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Has China Southern Improved Since My Comically Bad Flight With Them?

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In 2014 I flew China Southern’s A380 first class, a ticket I had booked with my Korean Air SkyPass miles. At the time my goal was to try every A380 first class product out there (which I’ve done at this point), and China Southern is one of the airlines operating the plane.

Well, the flight was bad. Amusingly bad. From the $5 sparkling wine (literally $5 in international first class), to the flight attendants double bunking in all the empty first class suites, to the inside of the toilet consistently looking like a dessert you’d order at TGI Friday’s due to the crew’s use, it was probably my worst international first class flight.

My review seemed to gain some traction on Chinese social media, and I suspect to save face China Southern’s management reprimanded the entire first class crew & purser.

The airline’s “assistant president of airline products & services” emailed me to reassure me they’d be making changes based on my feedback. The email read in part as follows:

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Video: Justin Ross Lee Confronts Crew Over Smoking Pilots

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As some of you may recall, I wrote in great detail about my China Eastern flight between Los Angeles and Shanghai a few weeks back, where the pilots were clearly smoking throughout the flight. This was extremely unpleasant as the smell permeated throughout the cabin. At first I didn’t know where the smoke was coming from, but after some of you chimed in sharing similar experiences, it was clear that smoking in the cockpit is a very common practice on Chinese airlines. This is in spite of the fact that it’s in clear violation of their own aviation authority’s regulations, and that China Eastern confirmed to me that they have zero tolerance for the practice.

We tried to call the crew out on it, though that didn’t go very far (not that I blame the flight attendants for this).

Well, Justin Ross Lee, probably the most controversial “travel hacker” out there, just shared his experience on Facebook of a recent China Southern flight, where he encountered a similar situation.

Here’s the video of him confronting the flight attendant about the smoking pilots (which is slightly not suitable for work — not because of anything his girlfriend is doing, for once, but rather because of some of the language he uses):

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How Not To Get Deported From China

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An interesting story is circulating about two ladies from New Zealand who were deported from China after a “journey from hell.” I have trouble keeping up with immigration policies, and I travel nonstop. I don’t envy less frequent travelers who have to stay on top of this stuff.

So what happened? Via the NZ Herald:

“The friends had travelled to Istanbul to catch flights home to Auckland via Beijing where they planned to spend a 72-hour transit sightseeing in the city. But during the August 11 flight to China’s capital, the pair were surprised to hear an in-flight announcement that they would be making a “one-hour stopover” at Urumqi – a city of four million people in the autonomous region of Xinjiang, 3700km from Beijing.

When they got off the China Southern Airlines plane, their travel papers were scrutinised by immigration officers. They say they were told Urumqi issued only 24-hour visa exemptions – not 72-hour exemptions as Beijing does.”

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Does This HAVE To Be The Most Direct Way From New York To The Maldives?!

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Goodness gracious, this is going to get interesting. I’m soon headed to the Maldives, and I now have my return flight booked, which was my top priority. I had a slight change in plans to my outbound.

Originally I was going to first visit Colombo for a few days, and was trying to decide between a few different airlines.

Due to a commitment that just came up, I’ll literally have to fly from the US to the Maldives as efficiently as possible, since I can only leave two days before my check-in date at the Park Hyatt.

So I’ve been scrambling for different ways to get from New York to the Maldives as quickly as possible.

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China Eastern & China Southern Awards Now Bookable On Delta.com

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Yesterday the 2015 Delta SkyMiles program launched. While overall it’s bad news for those that actually fly the airline frequently, for those looking to redeem SkyMiles, it was arguably a positive change.

One way awards became bookable for half the cost of a roundtrip, and Delta actually introduced a functional award calendar on their website, which makes it possible to search award availability much more easily. The only loss was that stopovers on roundtrip award tickets are no longer possible.

But it looks like there’s some more great news — China Eastern and China Southern award tickets are now bookable on delta.com.

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China Southern Rebrands Domestic First Class

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China Southern is making a change to how they categorize their forward cabin on domestic flights. This is more interesting in theory than anything else, because there aren’t any major implications in this case.

Via Business Traveller:

“China Southern Airlines will reposition its first class cabin as business class in October.

The carrier is thought to have made the move, which comes into effect on October 26, to combat the impact of a crackdown by the Chinese government on wasteful departmental spending.”

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Should I Fly China Southern Again?

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As some of you may recall, earlier in the year I redeemed Korean Air SkyPass miles for a trip in China Southern and Korean Air first class.

On that trip I flew:

— China Southern A380 First Class Los Angeles to Guangzhou
— China Southern A330 First Class Guangzhou to Tokyo Narita
— Korean Air 777 First Class Tokyo Narita to Seoul Incheon
— Korean Air A380 First Class Seoul Incheon to Los Angeles

I had high hopes for both airlines, in particular China Southern, given their A380 service between Los Angeles and Guangzhou, and how much award space they released. While the Korean Air flights actually exceeded my expectations, the China Southern flights kinda left me speechless.

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Apparently I Didn’t Have The Worst China Southern Flight Ever

Via Bloomberg: A China Southern Airlines Co. (1055) airplane carrying 220 passengers passed through the trajectory of a rocket launched seven minutes earlier by North Korea, a South Korean official said. China Southern flight CZ628, operating as a code-share with Japan Airlines Co. (9201) as flight JL5021, was headed to Shenyang, China from Narita airport…

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